“GUI: Gonzo User Inquiry”

Mar 29, 05:22 PM

If a car manufacturer asked me to design an innovative car, for the sake of innovation, a car would be the last thing I would look into. Now you might think twenty years of living France turned me into a stubborn party-crasher. Maybe so.

However, if a fairy or a wizard granted me three wishes, I am the kind of person to wish I could make an infinite number of wishes. You see, I cannot help trying to thoroughly identify the “real” constraints – among which the starting number of wishes is clearly not. Innovation requires thinking outside the box, they say. But, you have to identify that box first.

From time to time then, your design firm sends you out in the field for user inquiry. Strapped to a camcoder, you try and memorize the lines for your interviews.Here is the problem: interviews are an art form where craftsmanship is hard to get. Now, as a designer, I always wondered how could I not totally bias the outcome? I guess I would spend a lot of time preparing the interview instead of being actually in the field. And then, the only picture of the field I would get is through the bias of the interviewee. Double-bias.

I think, I am better off immersing my-self by getting my hands on the job. A friend of mine dubbed this “Gonzo Inquiry”. Though flattering, the comparison to Thompson’s process falls a bit short. Getting hired as an intern or an employee in your own client’s company is a way softer – do not mention cheaper and safer – form of extreme engagement. Thankfully!

Lalao HM. Rakotoniaina